26 August 2021 The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and European Integration Committee in meeting with the delegation of the Slovenian National Assembly

26 August 2021 The members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and European Integration Committee in meeting with the delegation of the Slovenian National Assembly

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Foreign Affairs Committee and European Integration Committee Members Meet with Slovenian National Assembly Delegation

Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Integration Committee met with a delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, headed by Speaker Dr Igor Zoricic, as part of their official visit to Serbia.

At the very beginning of the meeting, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic welcomed the delegation of the Slovenian National Assembly and thanked Slovenia for its support for Serbia's European path, stressing that membership in the European Union remains one of the country’s chief foreign policy and strategic goals. He said that Serbia has the administrative and other capacities to reach this goal, however the new EU enlargement methodology can objectively slow down this process for Serbia and the other countries in the Western Balkans. He added that Serbia is aware that the EU dictates the pace of enlargement in accordance with the internal issues it is faced with i.e. the migrant crisis, COVID-19 pandemic and the internal relations between the member states. Obradovic added that Serbia is working on fulfilling all the conditions concerning Chapter 35, but Pristina still ignores the Brussels Agreement signed in 2013, i.e. the Albanian side is not fulfilling its obligations contained in the Agreement.

He pointed out that Serbia is ready to move forward and strengthen ties with all the countries in the region, noting that the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, signed a trilateral agreement with the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, which facilitates trade in goods and capital. He also pointed out that the goal of Serbia’s foreign policy is to develop good relations with great powers such as Russia, China and the US, as well as with the countries of the African continent, and to actively participate in the work of international multilateral organisations. Speaking of parliamentary cooperation, Zarko Obradovic asked the Slovenian delegation and Speaker Igor Zorcic to convey an invitation to the Chair of the Slovenian Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Affairs to visit the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

Elvira Kovacs, Chairperson of the European Integration Committee, took the opportunity to present the Committee’s work to the delegation viz. considering bills and their harmonisation with the acquis communautaire, as well as the Assembly’s oversight role in the EU accession negotiations. She also thanked Slovenia for supporting the criteria for the opening of seven of the eight chapters ready to be opened in the Serbia-EU negotiations process. She went on to mention that the European Commission’s Report was discussed in the National Assembly plenum, which raised awareness on the importance of this topic. Kovacs also said that the Committee and the National Assembly’s role as regards integration is multi-layered, that the Assembly had accepted the European Commission’ recommendations and that the Committee has continued with the practice of reviewing the reports of the Government and independent regulatory bodies and adopting conclusions on them. She expressed hope that Serbia would open at least one negotiating cluster during the Slovenian presidency of the European Union.

Zorcic thanked his hosts for the invitation and the opportunity to exchange opinions both on Serbia’s European integration and its cooperation with Slovenia. He stressed that Slovenia is a promoter of the European Union after its long-term membership, adding that though the Union is not ideal, it is the best solution in existence for the countries of the European continent, one that it provides an opportunity for accelerated economic development and stability. He said that, through its reforms, Serbia is signalling the EU that joining is its goal, but that it should not neglect good relations with the countries that are not EU members. Slovenia will continue to support Serbia's path in every respect, added Zoricic at the end of his talk.

The meeting was also attended by Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairperson Vesna Markovic, and member Milorad Mijatovic, as well as European Integration Committee Deputy Chairperson Dusica Stojkovic and member Nemanja Joksimovic.

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